Here are just a few; be encouraged.
The Good Samaritan
There is a massive event that takes place annually at Camp Caribe called the UniChallenge. Teams of college students come in with well-choreographed dances for opening ceremony, banners expressing their team spirit, and the desire to glorify God (and win the competition). UniChallenge is all about sportsmanship, working together, and pushing hard while having a good attitude. It’s impossible to describe the intensity of the games that take place. Anyways, one of the events this year required about 1000 tires. There was a relay that took place which involved running football style through tires, crisscrossing other teams’ players from various directions, then barreling over a tire mountain, followed by carrying a massive tire as a group (talk about extreme!). It was a highlight of my first week in Puerto Rico to have the opportunity to be a part of the games. As it turned out, a couple days after the competition had ended, all the tires had to be returned to the place they were borrowed from. We used a passenger van, with the seats removed, and an s-10 pickup truck to transport the tires about 2 miles down the road (I was a part of the truck crew, known as the One Strap Wonders!). This little project made for good, fun work; but it was also long work. Something pretty cool happened. A guy drove up while we were packing in a load of tires and asked if we had any scrap metal. Some of the guys loading said there wasn’t any. The neat thing was, after being told there was no metal (no monetary gain to be made), this dude stuck around. He had a truck with some tall bed rails and a ladder rack, and volunteered to help us. He helped tie off the huge tire load his truck held, drove down to the recycling center with us, and even helped unload some. Even better, he came back and helped again! Talk about going out of your way to help some peeps! This stranger not only volunteered his truck knowing there was nothing to gain, but he also spent some of his gas and his time to help our cause. He put his back into throwing some tires off the truck. This wasn’t some monumental thing that took place, but God surely taught me through this experience. What if we truly put our back into helping others? What if we were willing to reach out, even when it costs us? As followers of Jesus, we are to be the expression of His love to everyone we encounter. We, the Body of Believers, are His hands and His feet to the world we live in. That stranger that helped out with the tires was willing to drive up and down the road for us, and back again, using his resources for our cause. Are we willing to go the distance for the cause of Christ? Are we willing to take whatever steps are necessarily to imprint Godly love in the hearts of the people around us? We have purpose on this earth. We serve a King who loves. We are to grow closer to Him, and show others to Him. Know Him. Make Him known. That is what fruitful living looks like; living for what is eternal. Use your resources to glorify God. It’s worth it. He gave all of Himself for you. Respond to that.
Sunday Morning Worship
We went to church in the barrio with the team that is currently in from New York. I had the opportunity to worship with some old friends and some new ones as well. We had the chance to sing a few songs in Spanish and in English, at the same time. It was an amazing time of fellowship. It was youth Sunday and one of my Puerto Rican friends shared the lesson. He spoke on Joseph and all the trials he faced, but pointed out how God had a plan for Him through and through. It was a good reminder of the fact that God works all things to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. It was really cool to see some of the guys we play basketball with during the week stepping up as leaders. God is so good.
Matt and I have the best internships ever. We get to encourage (okay, sometimes persuade) people to jump off of cliffs, and they do it! To watch someone do something they never thought they would do is quite a sight to see. We watched a good majority of our New York group jump from cliffs, jump into water falls, and hike a mountain. It was a great day. One of the greatest blessings in life is watching someone else truly live. Even better, deciding to live life to the fullest day in and day out, for the cause of Christ. It’s been cool to watch as people step out of comfort zones.
MAT-Mission Adventure Teams
Both the Pennsylvania and New York groups have welcomed us into their devotions, included us in discussion and activities, and really made us feel like a part of their groups. We’ve had opportunities to share parts of our stories, listen, do life with strangers that have become friends, work together, worship together, and laugh a lot. These van rides make me want a van even more…
How He Loves Us
As a group last night, we had a time of sharing, heard several testimonies, and then we sang “How He Loves Us.” If you’ve never heard the song, go listen to it five or six times. Then read about how the Almighty God, who created all things, has thoughts for you that outnumber the grains of sand in all the earth. It will change your perspective. He desires relationship; He wants your heart. We serve an awesome God.
This experience has been everything I had hoped it would be, and then a bundle more. I’ve never been attentive to the night sky this many consecutive days. I’ve never met this many strangers that have become like friends or family. I’ve never been as content or at peace. I’ve also never needed Spanish as badly as I do now. My prayer is that the days that follow will be God glorifying. My prayer is that the teams that come in will experience change in their hearts, that they would know the love God has for them in a deeper capacity, and that they would desire to walk in that love. I pray for Godly interactions. I want to give my moments to God. He deserves them all. I find joy in living for the Everlasting.”God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” -Piper
I am satisfied.